The Line King
During my lunch breaks these past few days I've been viewing The Line King . It's a quiet and unpretentious documentary about New York cartoonist Al Hirschfeld who passed away in 2003.
The documentary traces his life throughout the 20th century and, while I have been a fan for as long as I can remember, I hadn't stopped to think about what his signature style has come to mean. Basically, he IS New York City in the 20th Century.
Renowned for his caricatures of theater personalities and performing artists in general, Hirschfeld had the fortune of being in the thick of it throughout his entire life. If you want to find the essence of the magical impression that many have of New York, take the time to explore the body of his work. The DVD is a perfect way to do this.
Included in the bonus features is a segment where he draws Paul Newman. Hirschfeld is 99 years old and while much of his markmaking is scratchy he occasionally pulls off a sweeping line that is so elegant. I suppose it is like travelling in Manhattan and seeing the dirt, grime, and rats only to turn the corner to catch a glimpse of the Chrysler building.